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Stephen Gallacher: Why I expect Justin Thomas will face Europe in the Ryder Cup despite FedEx Cup heartache

JT still a good bet to make the US team for Rome - and so is Bryson DeChambeau.

Justin Thomas missed out on a FedEx Cup play-off place. Image PA
Justin Thomas missed out on a FedEx Cup play-off place. Image PA

It was the most agonising of finishes to a round we’ve seen this season but something tells me Justin Thomas’ FedEx Cup heartache will not linger for long.

Thomas missed on a place in the FedEx Cup play-offs by one shot and it happened in the cruellest way possible at the final hole of the Wyndham Championship on Sunday.

Needing a birdie to ensure he was in the top-70, Thomas’ birdie chip bounced off the pin and rolled away. Had it dropped in the hole, he would be in the play-offs.

Instead he finished 71st and his PGA Tour season is effectively done and dusted.

It means Thomas, a FedEx Cup winner in 2017 and two-time major winner, will not be in the play-offs for the first time since his rookie season of 2014.

While the 70 guys ahead of him will go on to compete for the cup, Thomas now faces an anxious wait to discover whether he will be in Zach Johnson’s United States team for the Ryder Cup.

I think he will be.

It is not as if he has had a terrible season, more an average one by his standards.

I know form matters in the Ryder Cup, but in match play experience counts, too.

He has more than experience to offer the US team, though. He’s a popular figure in the locker room and a real team player.

A positive influence, he’s just the sort of guy a captain would want on his team.

It will be interesting to see whether Thomas decides to come and play some DP World Tour events.

If he does it is a sign he not only wants to be in the team, but is pulling out all the stops to ensure he has been playing regularly by the time the match is played at the end of next month.

DeChambeau’s weekend to remember at Greenbrier

Bryson DeChambeau won the LIV Golf event on Sunday thanks to a final round 58. Image: PA.

With the Ryder Cup in mind, could we see a surprise captain’s pick heading Bryson’s DeChambeau’s way?

After his stunning weekend at the LIV Golf event in Greenbrier, he must be a contender.

DeChambeau secured his first LIV Golf title in remarkable fashion on Sunday as he had 13 birdies and one bogey on his way to a stunning final round 58 to win the tournament.

Considering he went round in 61 on Saturday, it is fair to say he had quite the weekend.

It was interesting to me, because he been talking in the build-up about the new driver in his bag and how good he was feeling.

Since his much publicised physical transformation a few years ago, DeChambeau has not been talking about length off the tee much since slimming down again.

Whatever he’s changed now, it clearly worked as 21 under for two rounds is outrageous.

LIV has been such a contentious subject since its debut last year and it’s so refreshing to have some brilliant golf to focus on, rather than politics or legal battles.

Brooks Koepka’s Masters victory in April put him firmly in the frame to make the team and it would not surprise me if DeChambeau is one of Johnson’s captain’s picks for Rome.

I don’t think anyone would bat an eye-lid if he was selected. He’s a brilliant golfer and I’ve said several times how I regard him as a box office attraction.

Who can stop Celine Boutier?

France’s Celine Boutier is chasing a hat-trick at Walton Heath this week. Image: PA.

Celine Boutier is the player to beat at the AIG Women’s Open this week after going back-to-back with two tournament wins in a row.

Winning her maiden major two weeks wasn’t enough for Boutier as she followed her win in her homeland of France by winning the Women’s Scottish Open at Dundonald.

She has been pretty near flawless in the last fortnight.

With an Evian Championship win and the victory at Dundonald, Boutier has won on an inland course and a links course.

Walton Heath, venue for the Women’s Open this week, is a hybrid of the two really and the only thing standing in her way at this point is fatigue.

Winning a tournament is tough mentally.

Physically, I am sure she feels great. Who wouldn’t after winning two in a row?

But the mental toughness required to close out a tournament in the home stretch should not be underestimated.

After coming out on top of two stellar fields, though, you simply cannot write her off this week. Only a fool would be so brave.

Get along to Newmachar if you can

It is great to see David Law supporting the Challenge Tour this week by playing in the Farmfood Scottish Challenge at Newmachar.

David won the tournament at Spey Valley when he last played in it five years ago and it’s fantastic to see him supporting the tour and Paul Lawrie, who is promoting the event.

There’s strong Scottish representation in the event with players from the Tartan Pro Tour also getting a chance to play.

To have a DP World Tour player taking part can inspire those taking part.

If you’re able to get along and support everyone taking part, you should.